WASHINGTON ( TheStreet) -- I quickly lost track of all the ambitious ideas President Obama outlined in his first state of the union speech last night. Obama started off with the economy and job creation, proposing that $30 billion in repaid bank bailout funds go to community banks that provide credit to small business. Plus he proposed new small business tax credits, elimination of all capital gains taxes on small business investment, along with broader tax incentives to encourage all businesses to invest in new plants and equipment. He also talked about creating jobs "building the infrastructure of tomorrow" and slashing tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas and giving the breaks instead to companies that create jobs in the U.S.. Jobs must be the top priority in 2010, Obama said, and he called for a new jobs bill without delay.
And all that was just Obama's opening volley. Then he turned to "serious financial reform." Obama didn't cite any banks by name, but he said we must "guard against the same recklessness that nearly brought down our entire economy" and we "can't allow financial institutions, including those that take your deposits, to take risks that threaten the whole economy." Hmmm. Could he mean Bank of America ( BAC), Citigroup ( C), JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) and the other big banks that have both consumer banking and investment banking operations under one roof? Obama also talked about stoking American innovation, specifically citing cancer treatments and clean energy, in particular solar, advanced batteries, nuclear power, biofuels and clean coal, while warning of the need to make "tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development." That could be bad news for the likes of ConocoPhillips ( COP) and Exxon Mobil ( XOM) and it could be good for General Electric ( GE), which makes wind turbines and other power plant equipment, and firms like First Solar ( FSLR), which makes solar electric power modules.
Next up were exports, and Obama set a goal of doubling exports over the next five years to support 2 million jobs in America. Then came education and the need to regain our competitive edge. And that led io the big one: health care. Obama made clear he would not back down on reforming the health care system. He defended the emerging plan in Congress, but also offered that "if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors and stop insurance company abuses, let me know." Yes, he mentioned the deficit and talked about the need for the government to start tightening its belt. Somehow, Obama thinks he can do all these grand things for America -- things like tax breaks that reduce the government's available funds and things like spending on infrastructure to create jobs -- but somehow still reduce the deficit. (Just not this year -- for now we need to spend to stoke the economy and create jobs, he said.) Starting in 2011, Obama called for freeze "discretionary" government spending for three years -- but not for the big-ticket items like national security, Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security. Obama also said he wants to create new laws to put limits on lobbyists and election campaign contributions to override the recent Supreme Court ruling that allows corporations to spend without limit to influence elections. But wait, there's more. Obama knew that he couldn't deliver a state of the union address without talking about national security and the war on terror, especially the "unacceptable gaps revealed by the failed Christmas attack." He mentioned taking the fight to al Qaeda but at the same time working to wind down U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nuclear disarmament, outreach to Muslim communities and other global leadership themes also came up in the speech, and Obama touched on the need to defend human rights and prosecute civil rights violations. Toward the end, as the speech wound down, he came back to the things that irk him most, saying that the ideals of the American people need to be upheld and that "each time a CEO rewards himself for failure, or a banker puts the rest of us at risk for his own selfish gain, people's doubts grow. Each time lobbyists game the system or politicians tear each other down instead of lifting this country up, we lose faith." Clearly, bankers remain very squarely in his crosshairs. Reading between the lines, it sounded to me like Obama is bearish on banks, insurers and big oil and bullish on small business, manufacturers, construction firms, exporters and energy. I would also offer this cautionary note, with so many things on Obama's to-do list, there's a good chance that some won't get done. --Written by Glenn Hall in New York. Follow TheStreet.com on
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